The Robe (1953)
A young and dashing Richard Burton displayed his talent and impeccable line-delivery, but also his theatricality and often stiffness in front of the camera in this historically interesting, but ultimately awkwardly religious twaddle. The first half of the film is easily the best, as the filmmakers present the emergence of Jesus Christ as an insurgent in the eyes of the Romans. The film is at its best depicting Roman culture, way-of-life and – above all – smugness, and Jay Robinson's gaudy performance as Caligula is the epitome of all this. Burton, on the other hand, is more laid-back. He delivers the occasional clever snippets and sexy glances, but once his character is required to have "seen the light", so to speak, his performance becomes painfully technical. It's obvious he was anything but convinced himself, and director Koster and producer Ross ultimately run amok with their supposedly God-given ideas. It's not that the film doesn't stay historically accurate enough, it's more that it cannot help becoming overindulgent in its own relevance – which of course, seen in retrospect – is completely off target.